The Desert Fathers: Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert

The Desert Fathers: Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert
The Monastery of St. Paul of Thebes, Red Sea Desert, Egypt (1990)

Friday, July 6, 2012

ABBA EVAGRIUS - Instructions to Cenobites and Others

In this issue, we will look at more of Abba Evagrius's teachings, this time his "Instructions to Cenobites and Others":

BEGIN:  Faith is the beginning of love; the end of love is knowledge of God.

-- Man's patience gives birth to hope; good hope will glorify him.

-- He who keeps his flesh in strict subjection will reach passionlessness. He who feeds it will suffer from it.

-- Solitude with love purifies the heart. Withdrawal from others with anger agitates it.

-- It is better to be among thousands with love, than to hide alone in caves with hatred.

-- He dishonors God who transgresses His law. But he who obeys it glorifies his Creator.

-- Where sin enters, there too enters ignorance; but the hearts of the righteous are filled with knowledge.

-- Better poverty with knowledge than riches with ignorance.

-- The highest adornment of the head is the crown; the highest adornment of the heart is knowledge of God.

-- He who prays often will escape temptation; but thoughts will trouble the heart of the careless.

-- If the spirit of despondency attacks you, do not leave your cell, and do not turn aside in time of discontent. For as silver is purified (by friction), so will your heart be made bright if you stand firm.

-- The spirit of despondency takes away tears, and the spirit of discontent stifles prayer.

-- Love is preceded by passionlessness; knowledge is preceded by love.

-- Honor God and you will know the incorporeal; serve Him and He will show you the understanding of the ages.

-- The body of Christ is active virtues; he who tastes them will be free from passions.

-- The blood of Christ is discrimination of actions; he who drinks it will be illumined.

-- The bosom of the Lord is knowledge of God; he who rests therein will be a theologian.

-- When he who is filled with knowledge and he who practices good meet one another, the Lord is between them.  END

from "Early Fathers From the Philokalia," translated from the Russian text, "Dobrotolubiye," by E. Kadloubovsky and G.E.H. Palmer, eighth edition, (London: Faber and Faber, Ltd., 1981), pp. 115 - 116.